The New Normal

It’s 6 am. I’m sitting in a coffee shop. The sun hasn’t risen yet, but the sky is streaked with light blue and pink, and I know when I look up from the keyboard next, I’ll have missed the sunrise.
Usually, that’s a source of writerly pride. To be so absorbed with my work that natural wonders dawn around me, and I’m oblivious, lost to literary wonders of my own making. This morning, I might miss the sunrise because I’m staring at a blinking cursor and blank screen.
Words aren’t coming. They’ve been slow and rare lately. Just another lull in my creative rhythms. Frustrating, but surmountable. Eventually. Maybe. I hope.
This, too, I’ve tried to take pride in. More often than not, a lengthy run of non-productivity is me in the process of leveling up. I’ve learned— something, somewhere, and the writer part of my brain is too busy figuring out the new normal to make words at the old rate.
Common, for me, after conventions, after workshops and classes. I’m chockful of new ideas and best practices and lessons learned and new friends made and the wiggle-in-one’s-seat righteousness that comes from seeing other people doing it wrong.
But this recent dry spell comes from a months-long collapse of my literary life. Instead of sorting through abundance, I am salvaging wreckage from a shuttered writing group, a scattering of the artists in my life, and a completely out of whack work/life balance.
Solutions are obvious: get my butt to a museum and hang with timeless artists , get my butt into a workshop and spend a few uninterrupted hours in a literary headspace, and, most importantly, get my butt in front of keyboard and lay down vibrant words. Be the artist I want in my life, and like will attract like.
But easier typed than done. This fresh start, this abundance of possibilities. Tantalizing and stymying. I’m doubling-down on reasons to stall out on writing. An abundance of possible paths to follow through what seems like a barren terrain.
Flat and empty ain’t nothing but a clear path, I guess. Oh, the wrong turns I’ll manage anyway. Good thing an artist’s way is allegedly about the journey rather than the destination. Onward!

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